What Is The Best Labour Position For Your Baby?
Hello and welcome back to another weekly Bumpdate. My name is Lara Proud. I’m a Registered Nurse and the owner of Beyond the Bump Education. This week we’re going to talk about your baby’s head positioning and why the different labour positions in the pelvis make a huge difference.
So, first things first. I wanted to show you what you are experiencing right now.
So, this baby is in what we call the OA, or occiput anterior position. It is one of the ideal labour positions for the baby’s head.
As you can see, the top of their head is closest to your cervix and your vaginal outlet.
What this does is allow for the most narrow part and the heaviest weight. Gravity is pulling down and putting all of the weight onto the baby’s head.
That’s why this is the optimal position for your baby.
Now, we’re using the pelvis and the baby model, which I’ve drawn the fontanelles onto the head.
This is where that OA position is going to be.
This is part of the fontanelle, the very top and back piece of the head. You want it pointed directly at the cervix.
I’m going to show you a couple of other labour positions that might help to explain some of the other presentations or fetal presentations you may see.
So this is what the position looks like when you are seeing the OA or occiput. The bone there is the anterior, which means to the front.
This is the front of the pelvis, and here is what your baby’s presentation looks like.
Their back is going to be up against your belly, so this would be the front of your belly here, and you’re going to see baby’s back up along it, and they’re going to be looking towards your back.
The reason why this is so good for your labor position is that it allows the more narrow part of the head to sit on the cervix. It also puts the most pressure on it using body weight and gravity, and it helps the cervix to dilate.
Some of the other positions that you may see would be the baby looking sideways for transfers.
So it could be in either direction.
Your baby could also be in a position called sunny side up, or occiput posterior, and it is when your baby’s looking at your belly.
So one of the things that you see in this case when your baby is sitting on the cervix, more than likely they’re going to have their head flexed up a little bit.
What you want to see in delivery, if at all possible, is that you have that occiput anterior position with the top of their head in kind of the most narrow part where the fontanelle is close across each other.
And then you wanna see that baby is going to be in a chin tucked down position.
This, again, allows all of that pressure to go in that one place, and it allows for the narrowest part of their head to go in.
So what can you do to be able to help your baby get into that OA position as you are approaching labor?
One of the things that you can do is use gravity.
So using a gravity assistant position, something like being on all fours is actually going to pull your baby to the front of your belly, because this part is going to be the heaviest, right?
So they’re going to naturally just swing down into that position so their back is up against the outer part of your belly.
And so, when you think about it, if your arms are kind of up on the side of the couch, and you’re kneeling on the side of the couch, or if you are on your hands and knees, you let your belly just drop, you relax all those muscles and you breathe.
And it allows that gravity to help your baby shift into that optimal position.
Sometimes there can be a huge imbalance with the pelvic floor muscles, or it could be that the baby’s head is at a little bit of a crooked position, and it’s a little bit more difficult to get your baby out of the position they were in and into a more ideal position.
But it can be something that you fix.
You may just need to reach out to your care provider, you may just have to get a couple of ideas.
If you are in the Empowered Birth course, I go through in quite a bit of detail about how to get your baby into that optimal position, and tons of positions that you can use and try to unengaged the baby from your pelvis if they’re down really, really low.
Then be able to go back into your pelvis in a really good position that is going to be awesome for birth.
Now, I keep saying optimal. What in the world do I mean by this?
Basically, what I mean is that there are many many different ways of giving birth to a baby. Baby does not have to be in just this one OA position. It is possible to give birth in many different positions.
The reason why it is considered optimal is that it shortens your labor. It places the most pressure from the top of the baby’s head into the right spots of the cervix. That triggers the release of the oxytocin hormone and helps your contractions to be a little more consistent.
So when your contractions are consistent, your labor is a little bit faster, when there’s enough pressure on the cervix, it helps it to soften and thin and dilate that much faster.
Pushing is also going to be easier if the top of your baby’s head is in that position. If there’s any type of flection- say this is the part that’s up against the cervix, and their chin is up a little bit, it makes that head a little bit wider.
It makes it just a little bit harder for that to come out.
It’s certainly not impossible, but if at all possible you do want to be thinking about what you can do ahead of time, so while you were still pregnant and not in active labor, to be able to get baby into that really good position. That way, you don’t even have to think about it.
So what can you do from here?
Basically, there’s a couple of options.
One of the things that you want to focus on, again, is going into those gravity-assisted labour positions. If you don’t know what they are, and you are currently pregnant, please reach out.
This is something that I cover in-depth and talk about quite often in the Empowered Birth course. We’d love to have you join and really be able to understand how to make your labor go as quick as possible, how to have this process be as smooth as you can, while also being informed of all of your choices and empowered in what your decisions are going to be.
The other option is to go to your pelvic floor physiotherapist. You can also talk to your healthcare providers, and use all of us together as a team of resources
that are going to be able to help promote your birth to be the best experience possible.
Thank you so much for joining me this week. I hope that you’ve learned a little bit about labour positions. I would love to answer any questions! If you have some, please drop them in the comments below and let me know if there’s anything you need!